How popular is the baby name Alda in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Alda.
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When you think of politician Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814), what comes to mind?
Probably the political portmanteau gerrymander, which was mockingly coined by a newspaper cartoonist in 1812.
But Gerry was one of the founding fathers of the United States.
He signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. He refused to sign the Constitution, though, because it didn’t include a Bill of Rights. He promptly helped draft and pass a Bill of Rights (i.e., the first ten amendments) while serving as a member of the inaugural House of Representatives.
He went on to serve as the eighth governor of Massachusetts (1810-1812), and died while in office as the fifth vice president of the United States (1813-1814) under James Madison.
Hundreds of baby boys were named after Elbridge Gerry. Most were born in Gerry’s home state of Massachusetts. The rest came from nearby states, particularly Maine (which was part of Massachusetts from the 1650s to 1820). Some examples…
In the late 1700s and early 1800s, Abraham and Ruth Bowen of Massachusetts welcomed at least seven children:
John (b. 1797)
Amanda (b. 1799)
Abraham (b. 1803)
Jeannett (b. 1805)
Nathan (b. 1808)
Aldaberontophoscophornia (b. 1812)
Zephaniah (b. 1820)
Where did Aldaberontophoscophornia come from?
The source seems to be the “nonsense verse” play Chrononhotonthologos (1734) by English writer Henry Carey. The play featured a bombastic male character by the name of Aldiborontiphoscophornio.
We’ll never know why Abraham and Ruth chose such a cumbersome name for their baby girl. But we do know that Aldaberontophoscophornia rarely (if ever) used the full version of her first name anywhere. In all the records I’ve seen so far — and even on her headstone — it’s shortened to “Aldaberonto,” “Alda Beronto,” “Alda B.,” or simply “Alda.”
Aldaberontophoscophornia went on to marry a man named Andrew C. Fearing and have at least a dozen children. (The names of eleven of them are Amanda, Ellen, Andrew, George, Thatcher, Henry, Marion, William, Charles, Frank, and Emelyn.) It doesn’t look like her name was passed down to any descendants.